Marina B. Gibbons
Handling silicified “glass” insect fossils and supporting them during conservation treatment is challenging due to their extreme fragility and light weight. In order to enable both long-term storage and research use of the rare collection of Miocene-era “glass” insects at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a series of handling techniques and support methods were adapted from other conservation and paleontological specialties and trialed on a representative macrofossil specimen. Using self-releasing cyclododecane and polyester bandages along with tensioned foam support systems enabled safe control over fragment alignment during remedial treatment. Standard laboratory tweezers were modified with Ento Sphinx 00-gauge stainless steel entomology pins for safer handling of individual specimens and specimen fragments in the future. The overall storage system for this fossil assemblage was also reevaluated.